Author Topic: Just found out I'm in significant debt. Keep going with wedding planning?  (Read 10630 times)

gillamnstr

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I'm the girl from this thread:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/afraid-dad-is-lying-to-me-about-his-financial-situation-please-advise/

So I'm now paying off a $31,000 student loan I didn't know about.

In addition, I've been planning a very modest wedding for myself in September. The whole price tag is in the $5000 - $7000 range depending on the bar/food situation. The dress was bought and paid for, venue is rented. What's left are travel, accommodations (it's happening at a state park/lodge/hotel), decorations and cake. My dad and mom were planning on paying for food, bar, flowers, etc.

To be honest, I really don't care if there is no fancy wedding. I'm not that kind of person. I'm perfectly happy with justice o' peace, as is my fiancé. The wedding was more for my parents than anyone and frankly, I'm kind of sick to my stomach over the whole thing now that there's a seedy financial element.

I'm not sure I can justify spending about four grand on our end for this thing. Not many of my friends will be able to come due to distance. My mom has no savings to buy the cake she says she wants to buy (I guess she'd put it on a credit card?), and I have no idea what is going on with my dad's finances.

In sum: my parents want a wedding, I don't think it's worth it if they're as screwed as it seems and I have a hefty loan I'm now paying off.

I'm pretty stuck/depressed/everything is going wrong at the moment. Would appreciate any random internet stranger's advice.

Wupper

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Have the wedding that YOU want, not what your parents want.

Don't rely on others to pay your debts. It's your debt, right? - you pay it.

swick

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Crappy all around situation to be in :(

Talk it over with your fiancee and decide what YOU really want. If the wedding is mostly for your parents and you honestly don't care about it, it sounds like you know what you need to do. This might also be the slap in the face wake up call that your parents need.

The tricky part will be telling your parents (I'm guessing they are seeing this event as kind of a status thing?) but being mature and responsible and taking over the debt payments and prioritizing them over the wedding gives you an out and is the responsible, adult thing to do. - and again it might be a wake-up call for your parents because they are the ones who have caused you to be in this situation - it is a tangible, obvious result of their choices.

queenie

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You're only out the deposit on the venue so far?  Pull the plug.

Wear the dress you bought and have a very simple and memorable ceremony with a JoP and just your immediate family.  Scratch all the extras, as you don't care about them anyway.

Then, enjoy being married.  It's pretty awesome.  :)

Retired To Win

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You're only out the deposit on the venue so far?  Pull the plug.

Wear the dress you bought and have a very simple and memorable ceremony with a JoP and just your immediate family.  Scratch all the extras, as you don't care about them anyway.

Then, enjoy being married.  It's pretty awesome.  :)

Absolutely this.  If you go through with the pricey wedding, you won't be doing it for yourself or your mate.  You'll be doing it for your parents.  And, given the situation, do you really want to do that and end up another few thousand in the hole for doing it?

HenryDavid

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Do it YOUR way baby.
It's your life, it's your wedding.
I got married under a tree in a park, by a justice. Mom in law's church group catered at the community hall.
At the time, some family members wanted more fanciness. Looking back now, everybody has great memories and says they loved it.
Turned into a great family story and nobody went into debt.

deborah

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Talk over with your fiancee what you both really want - but perhaps delay for a week or two so this isn't quite a reactionary decision (the type of decision you may regret later). And then do what you have decided.

If they really want to spend the money, tell them you would prefer to use it to pay off the student debt.

MoneyCat

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Until very, very recently in human history, weddings were not extravagant ridiculousness.  Advertising has brainwashed everyone into thinking they need a massive expensive party to get married, but really all you need is a bride, a groom, an officiant, and a lot of love.  The marriage is what's important.  Not the wedding day.

ltt

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Personally, I would go to the JofP and invite the parents to be there with you and then have a nice dinner with the parents.  Don't take on new debt; work on the debt that's already been incurred.

MDM

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Not many of my friends will be able to come due to distance.
That spoils the point of a wedding party then, doesn't it?

Given the recent financial revelations, your folks may be relieved if you tell them the wedding will be held local to you and they don't need to worry about it because you and your fiance are handling things.  Then do what you want, and enjoy the celebration with your friends. 

It's ok to have a party and spend some money - it is after all a special occasion.  You just don't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money, and you shouldn't be doing this at a place not of your choosing.  Carpe diem - literally, as it should be your day - and enjoy yourselves!

sol

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I would go to the JofP and invite the parents to be there with you and then have a nice dinner with the parents. 

I would notify your parents that since you suddenly have this new debt to pay, you are no longer planning to waste money on a fancy wedding.  Do not accept an offer to pay for the wedding as long as the debt still exists, as that's just making everyone's situation worse instead of better.

Even without the complication of the new debt, I would absolutely refuse any offer to have my parents host a wedding anywhere other than at a place of MY choosing, near my friends who I wanted to be there.  Spend $500 on drinks and bbq  supplies and have a grand party.  Invite your parents, if they want to travel, but certainly don't make your friends travel to wherever your parents are.  Your parents already had a wedding, they don't get to plan yours.


Señora Savings

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I would go to the JofP and invite the parents to be there with you and then have a nice dinner with the parents. 

I would notify your parents that since you suddenly have this new debt to pay, you are no longer planning to waste money on a fancy wedding.  Do not accept an offer to pay for the wedding as long as the debt still exists, as that's just making everyone's situation worse instead of better.

Even without the complication of the new debt, I would absolutely refuse any offer to have my parents host a wedding anywhere other than at a place of MY choosing, near my friends who I wanted to be there.  Spend $500 on drinks and bbq  supplies and have a grand party.  Invite your parents, if they want to travel, but certainly don't make your friends travel to wherever your parents are.  Your parents already had a wedding, they don't get to plan yours.

I'm all about this.  There is no need for you to spend $4000 making your parents happy when they just slapped you with 31k of unplanned loans.  There's actually never any need to spend $4000 throwing the type of party that someone else wants.

CommonCents

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Talk over with your fiancee what you both really want - but perhaps delay for a week or two so this isn't quite a reactionary decision (the type of decision you may regret later). And then do what you have decided.

If they really want to spend the money, tell them you would prefer to use it to pay off the student debt.

+1
Don't make any decisions today.  Wait, talk and think about it.  You're emotional right now, and had a lot happen.  Take the time to make sure you know what you both want and then do it with no regrets or guilt.

Cpa Cat

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I'm pretty stuck/depressed/everything is going wrong at the moment. Would appreciate any random internet stranger's advice.

Lol. Just cancel it. Your parents can't afford to pay for any part of your wedding. If they make a fuss, let them know that you'd be happy to accept their contribution toward the $35k your dad just saddled you with. Then go to the courthouse and get married.

They don't really get a say anymore. Your mother is a financial dependent and your father just dropped $35k of debt on you. Frankly, it's pretty nervy to be behind on alimony and dump the student loan he promised to pay and then decide there's money to spare for a wedding. There isn't.

And you would feel better if you were married with $28k of debt than married with $35k of debt.

ShortInSeattle

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I think this is a question for your fiance. Partnership is making these kinds of decisions together.

Together, you'll deal and you'll overcome. Congrats on your upcoming marriage, wedding or no wedding!

Dicey

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I read somewhere that the less you spend on your wedding, the more likely your marriage will last. Not sure if it's actually true, but it feels right to me.
DH and I got married on the spur of the moment at the county courthouse on 10-11-12. He was a widower, I'd never been married and the hoopla just didn't interest either of us. We are so stupidly, wonderfully in love that I sometimes I'm surprised when I catch a glimpse of my happy self in a mirror. We keep saying that we're going to throw a big bash and we can certainly afford to, but it just doesn't seem that important.
My vote is to call it a party, not a wedding. Keep it intimate, spend just a little and then focus on your new life together.
Oh, and wear the dress. Why not?

Spondulix

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So now that you've taken over the loan, what are the details? Interest rate, payment, etc? Do you own any property?

It's a pretty sh**y $30k surprise to get... but let's be real. It's probably not the type of debt that's going to go away in a year or two years. I'm not saying that to be depressing, but once the shock wears off, it'll just be part of your life for some years. It's not something to stop your life over, especially if you're talking about a modest wedding.

Reading your other thread, it reminded me of a friend of mine (in his 50s) who's been taking care of his ex-wife and helping support his adult kids for the past eight years. He's been brewing about it for years cause his ex doesn't really work (lives off his alimony). He's had to tighten more and more over the years, handing over half his money and can't afford to contribute to retirement because of his expenses. He feels trapped - he can't quit cause he couldn't survive. He has to put off his retirement and feels enslaved to all of them when he originally planned to be financially set and able to travel. I don't know how much he talks to his kids about it, but I could see him snapping someday and them not really knowing why.

MrsPete

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The question doesn't have to be "Yes, go forward with your current plans" OR "No, no wedding at all". 

You've already bought the dress and rented a modestly priced venue.  I say go ahead and have a wedding -- but cut back on the plans.  Make it just family and very close friends.  Provide a nice meal, but not an extravagant meal.  Try Harris Teeter for flowers; a friend of mine just used them, and I was really amazed at the quality for the price.  Do have pictures made.  I'd think you could have a nice, small wedding for $1000 under these circumstances. 

I know, $20 (or whatever it costs for a license) is all that you need, but a wedding is a once in a lifetime event and deserves some celebration.  I know I would've felt I'd missed something if I hadn't had one. 

I also think the poster who said, "Don't make any decision today" was right on track.  Having the debt dropped on you was a surprise.  Decisions made in haste or under emotional circumstances are often regretted later.  Give yourself at least a week to mull it over.  And give it the 5-5-5 test:  How will you feel about this choice in 5 minutes?  in five months?  in five years?  later? 

Off-topic:  Y'all are throwing around the terms fiance and fiancee as if they're interchangeable -- they are not the same thing. 


charis

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I agree that you don't have to cancel the wedding.  You have already paid the deposit so just work with what you have a inexpensively as possible.  Can you cut the guest list, do a morning ceremony followed by brunch (maybe mimosas, but no bar), keep flowers to just a few pretty ones that you are holding when you walk the aisle, organize an easy hike in the afternoon, and have a nice dinner with your husband.

Exflyboy

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Some good advice here. The fact you have been reading this forum and made the MMM commitment means you value the people that think this way..

I.e Job 1.. get out of debt, short of saving your (or a loved ones) life this the ultimate priority!

Job 2.. work yourselves towards FI.

You already know your Dad was living beyond his means and you can see that he might now be in financial trouble as he hits retirement.. I had the same problem with my folks and I swore I'd never be in that situation.

The fact that $31k's worth of debt has suddenly dropped back in your lap makes the decision very simple, especially considering you are having a hard time justifying it in your own mind.

This party is not for you and your beau.. in fact it will hurt you and delay your FI by a certain amount.

Life is uncertain enough at the best of times, don't potentially shoot yourself in the foot by making a dumb choice.. And you know its dumb.. stop the madness immediately!

I'm sure you'll be a beautiful bride in a white dress or ripped jeans.. Your beau won't care!... (He'll have other things on his mind believe me...;)....)




Cpa Cat

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It's a pretty sh**y $30k surprise to get... but let's be real. It's probably not the type of debt that's going to go away in a year or two years. I'm not saying that to be depressing, but once the shock wears off, it'll just be part of your life for some years. It's not something to stop your life over, especially if you're talking about a modest wedding.

I actually disagree with this statement. We've seen people on this forum save 30k in a year. This is a double-income couple with no other debt who are embracing a Mustachian lifestyle. I give this debt 3 years, tops.

$7000 is a full 23% of that debt.

SMCx3

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First of all, congratulations on finding your life partner!

The two of you are partners, so make the decision which is best for the two of you as a family.  Once you are on the same page, go with your decision.  As kids, new homes, career changes, come into the picture these types of situations will always be looming in your relationship.  Your extended family will always have opinions. Once the two of you are in the same page, doing what you feel is best, your families will see that the two of you are looking out for one another's best interest.  Nothing makes loved ones happier than seeing a son or daughter on the same page with their SO.

Schaefer Light

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My wife (then fiancee) and I were in a similar situation about 3.5 years ago.  We had already made a deposit on a wedding venue because we were going to have the wedding that other people wanted us to have.  We then learned that there was an additional student loan that we were going to be responsible for paying off.  Just as in your case, a family member had been paying it (unbeknownst to us).  We also knew that we weren't going to get any real help paying for the wedding.  At that point, we decided that our financial well-being was more important than having all of our family and friends at our wedding.  We gave up the $500 deposit, and it was probably the best $500 we've ever spent.  I bet we saved ourselves $5-7k by doing so.  We did have a nice honeymoon, but it was something we could afford and we didn't put ourselves in a really bad financial situation by having both the wedding and honeymoon come out of our wallets.

NumberCruncher

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We had our wedding a few years ago pretty much just to make my parents happy, and they were footing the bill.

Honestly, if we could go back, we would just elope and hire a photographer.

MountainGal

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Ah, BTDT with in-law pressure to marry their son.  I wanted to cancel, the MIL's response was:  "Well, everyone has already bought their airplane tickets!"  I should have told her to shove it.  The "marriage" lasted 9 months.

My point is I echo what others said above:  Have the wedding you and your fiance want and feel comfortable with.  Screw everyone else.

Side note:  I'm paying my own school loans, too.  It's a liberating feeling.  :)  Oh, and I am now married to a really great guy.  We had the wedding WE wanted for a total out of pocket of $1,800.  My dad paid the venue fee.  (Years ago he declined my offer of paying him back for the first wedding, but said:  Just don't expect another one.)

Luck to you and congratulations.

purplepants

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Have the wedding that YOU want, not what your parents want.


This x1000.  I'm a (fairly) newlywed and we opted to do things our way rather than what my parents wanted (and volunteered to pay cash for, which they could easily afford).   We had a tiny wedding, and I am so glad we did. 

As far as the venue, you can often get your deposit back if someone else reserves the day you were supposed to have.  If it was a harder reservation to get and the book up quickly, someone may just snap it up!

mm1970

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Have the wedding that YOU want, not what your parents want.


This x1000.  I'm a (fairly) newlywed and we opted to do things our way rather than what my parents wanted (and volunteered to pay cash for, which they could easily afford).   We had a tiny wedding, and I am so glad we did. 

As far as the venue, you can often get your deposit back if someone else reserves the day you were supposed to have.  If it was a harder reservation to get and the book up quickly, someone may just snap it up!
+1

apricity

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I get the family pressure.  That is a real thing.  But it is YOUR wedding.  Your decision.  You can shut it down, if that is what you want.  IDK, I haven't read the linked post yet-- but what if you shutting it down actually relieved your parents?  They might not say it, but they may be feeling just as burdened but don't want to be the killjoy.

It's your decision.  You can say no.

Spondulix

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It's a pretty sh**y $30k surprise to get... but let's be real. It's probably not the type of debt that's going to go away in a year or two years. I'm not saying that to be depressing, but once the shock wears off, it'll just be part of your life for some years. It's not something to stop your life over, especially if you're talking about a modest wedding.

I actually disagree with this statement. We've seen people on this forum save 30k in a year. This is a double-income couple with no other debt who are embracing a Mustachian lifestyle. I give this debt 3 years, tops.

$7000 is a full 23% of that debt.
I probably didn't say it clearly, cause I'm not saying its impossible. Look past the sticker shock and look at the actual cost of the loan over time. Power paying isn't right in every situation, and we don't have all the details yet. It might be in their benefit to pay it off in 5 or 10 years (maybe not, but can better assess with the interest rate, and knowing if it's a govt or private loan. I asked if they owned property in case they have a HELOC to roll some of the balance into, or a refinance, depending the rates. There's options.)

If the interest rate is low (which it could be since the loan is over 10 years old), it might be very low cost to just pay the minimum for a year or more (depending on their personal goals) and then hit it hard in the future. I've got 20k of student loans at 2% (around the same age as OP), and the yearly interest is under $500. There's a natural sense of urgency cause it's debt, but looking at it in the bigger picture, I'm losing money by power paying it off (vs investing).

If we're only talking a thousand dollars of interest over one year - is it worth putting off a wedding for that? I wouldn't. The benefit of being able to file taxes jointly might be more than that.

gillamnstr

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The deposit was $1500 - and it looks like we can get it all back.

As far as the student loan - here's the deal:

Consolidated - $23,384 - 3.25%
Pvt #1 - $3325 - 2.25%
Pvt #2 - $4353 - 2.75%

Right now I'm on the minimum pay deal which is about $380/month. Once we get married, I'm joining my sweetie in paying off his $88,000 mortgage which is at 5.5%.

I have a pretty awesome job but travel constantly for work, so we were going to try to kill off the mortgage in the next 10 months, save some extra, then I would quit and do the family thing. I could power-pay this in 4-6 months, but like one poster said I'm not sure if it's worth it vs. investing.  I have a lot of other savings in Roth, emergency fund, etc. But I'd rather not touch any of it.

gillamnstr

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By the way - thanks for all of your support and advice. It's made me feel about a million times better and more justified.

lifejoy

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Damn. Sorry to hear you're going through this! But congrats on your upcoming marriage!

For me, our wedding cost us around $7,000 and we were gifted many items and also $11,000 total cash gifts. So... perhaps try to guess if there is a chance you might break even? That kind of thinking is... not the way one normally approaches a wedding, but I think your situation is unique.

FYI I live in Canada and we had 55 guests. Some of them wealthy, so that tipped the scales.

lifejoy

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PS - We had the wedding that WE wanted, but with major concessions to keep our parents happy. We decided that $1000-2000 wasn't worth burning bridges or making our parents forever angsty. Think long-term. Think about your relationship with your families. Which makes more sense for you guys? It would drive me nuts to be nagged at, at every family gathering...

Dicey

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Once we get married, I'm joining my sweetie in paying off his $88,000 mortgage which is at 5.5%.

I could power-pay this in 4-6 months, but like one poster said I'm not sure if it's worth it vs. investing.  I have a lot of other savings in Roth, emergency fund, etc. But I'd rather not touch any of it.

Holy cow! 5.5%? I'm taking deep breaths to keep from hyperventilating...

If I may make another suggestion, please? If there's enough equity to re-fi the home, consider doing so and killing off the SL debt. You should be able to knock at least two points off that rate, which means the payment even with the added SL debt would be about the same and still tax deductible if you itemize. Then you can throw all the money you wish into killing the mortgage. Since you don't plan to keep the mortgage long, you could lower your rate even further by looking at 5/1 or 7/1 ARMs or a 10 year fixed rate loan. The beauty of this plan is that you could still pay the mortgage off early, but you wouldn't have to. Having lots of flexibility for virtually no extra money is a beautiful thing. Making the house work for you is really, really smart. Good luck, whatever you decide.

MrsPete

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PS - We had the wedding that WE wanted, but with major concessions to keep our parents happy. We decided that $1000-2000 wasn't worth burning bridges or making our parents forever angsty. Think long-term. Think about your relationship with your families. Which makes more sense for you guys? It would drive me nuts to be nagged at, at every family gathering...
You know, it's easy to say, "Screw everyone else -- do what you please", but you're right to say that these decisions do have consequences.  Weddings do matter to the rest of the family too.  You should walk a fine line between your expectations and your family's expectations. 

I have a good friend who was dead set on a small wedding the summer after her high school graduation.  Her father wanted her to wait until she'd finished two years of college and be a little older (not unreasonable on his part -- she was a very immature, spoiled 18-year old).  She ended up eloping only two weeks after high school graduation (classic elopement, left a note for her father while he was away at work, didn't even tell him where she was going), so she got exactly what she wanted; however, she regretted this decision later.  It caused hard feelings between her and her dad: they didn't speak for something like three years.  Later, she was VERY jealous of the modest weddings her friends (me included) had later, though she practiced some revisionist history and claimed that her elopement had nothing to do with timeline differences; rather, she claimed it was just too much to plan without her mother's help.  Today she's ravenous for her own daugther to get married, and I know she's going to thrust the wedding she never had upon her daughter.

Your new spouse is mainly marrying you, but he or she is also marrying into a family.  Do take your family's desires into consideration before you decide to run away or go to the JP.  If your family would feel miffed by a complete lack of ceremony, a small wedding really isn't all that expensive or difficult. 

Don't be so stiffnecked about having things exactly your way as to create hard feelings in your family.


Retired To Win

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You know, used to be that the bride's father paid for the wedding.  If the bride's family really considers a bigger (and costlier) wedding important to them, then maybe they should be asked to cover -- or at least help to cover -- the increased costs of making them happy.

(You can explain that the unexpected "dumping" of a $31,000 debt in your lap has changed your financial projections for the worse and that you can't see your way to ALSO fund the costlier wedding.)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 04:31:05 PM by Retired To Win »

Spondulix

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Once we get married, I'm joining my sweetie in paying off his $88,000 mortgage which is at 5.5%.

I could power-pay this in 4-6 months, but like one poster said I'm not sure if it's worth it vs. investing.  I have a lot of other savings in Roth, emergency fund, etc. But I'd rather not touch any of it.

Holy cow! 5.5%? I'm taking deep breaths to keep from hyperventilating...

If I may make another suggestion, please? If there's enough equity to re-fi the home, consider doing so and killing off the SL debt. You should be able to knock at least two points off that rate, which means the payment even with the added SL debt would be about the same and still tax deductible if you itemize. Then you can throw all the money you wish into killing the mortgage. Since you don't plan to keep the mortgage long, you could lower your rate even further by looking at 5/1 or 7/1 ARMs or a 10 year fixed rate loan. The beauty of this plan is that you could still pay the mortgage off early, but you wouldn't have to. Having lots of flexibility for virtually no extra money is a beautiful thing. Making the house work for you is really, really smart. Good luck, whatever you decide.
Great advice... it's turning lemons into lemonade. :)

MrsPete

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You know, used to be that the bride's father paid for the wedding.  If the bride's family really considers a bigger (and costlier) wedding important to them, then maybe they should be asked to cover -- or at least help to cover -- the increased costs of making them happy.
Not necessarily big and costly -- just some sort of celebration that includes family, makes a nod to tradition.  Easier and cheaper in the long run than wrecking family relationships. 

CommonCents

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Agree you should consider a refi now regardless of everything else.  Rates are ~3.75% now.